Director-General  QU Dongyu

World Food Forum: FAO Director-General stresses the need for bridging the divide between science and policy making


Rome – Interaction between scientists, policy makers and society is crucial to craft effective policies on sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Director-General QU Dongyu said today.

Qu emphasized the need for “dialogue among scientists, politicians and business people, and even with farmers and farmers’ organizations” in his opening remarks at a World Food Forum event titled Science, Policy and Society Interface: Challenges and opportunities.

The event was part of the Science and Innovation Forum, one of three fora being held over five days at the FAO headquarters.  This forum highlights the crucial role of science, technology and innovation in transforming our agrifood systems and to explore scientific advances and the opportunities and risks associated with them.

The World Food Forum runs from 17-21 October and emphasizes the need for youth action and use of science and technology to solve our agrifood systems challenges. The two other fora are the Hand-in-Hand Investment Forumand the Global Youth Forum.

Wednesday’s event brought together panelists to discuss ways in which policy makers can better use and benefit from the knowledge and expertise of scientists, while scientists in turn should increase their proactive engagement in the policy making process.

The Director General said that FAO will take a leading role in making this possible.

“I want to establish an instrument as a permanent platform annually to bring all these key players together in regular dialogue,” Qu said.

The event’s keynote speech was delivered by the Director of the International Centre for Pharmaceutical Development Research and Innovation, and former president of Mauritius, renowned scientist Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim.

She highlighted the importance of using science to tackle the threats to food production and food security.

“This is where science, new and emerging technologies and innovations are critical for improving the productivity, efficiency, equity and sustainability of food systems,” she said.

The session highlighted the challenges and opportunities for effective collaboration and how to facilitate better working relationships between all parties.

“I count on you, the scientists, and all of you with a scientific background, to use these platforms and to lead the transformation of agrifood systems – with more science-based, more data-driven and more rationalized ideas," Qu said.